In the men’s final of the U.S. Open, Casper Ruud will put up a fight.
Ruud, a 23-year-old Norwegian and the No. 5 seed, boasts a strong forehand, and he has Grand Slam final experience now after losing this year’s French Open to Rafael Nadal.
Ruud’s forehand served him well in his Friday semifinal against Karen Khachanov of Russia, which he won, 7-6(5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. Ruud used his forehand best in the fourth and final set of the match, when he gave up no points in the final game.
After the match, Khachanov complimented Ruud’s forehand and his ability to move around the court.
“His main weapon is his forehand, going around, accelerating the ball, having one of the heaviest topspins on tour,” Khachanov told reporters after the match. “He improved his backhand as well. He’s not missing that many balls.”
After the match, Ruud said he is better prepared for this final after losing the French Open final earlier this year against Nadal — whether he faces Carlos Alcaraz or Frances Tiafoe.
“He obviously gave me a good beating,” Ruud said of Nadal. “Whoever it is, they have reached the final for a reason and they are playing great. Carlos and Frances are both very electric players, play with a lot of joy and can bring up unbelievable rallies and points. So I have to be prepared for everything.”
Playing in front of 20,000 fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium can be intimidating, and Ruud said that playing the French Open taught him what to expect from the crowd in a Grand Slam final.
“At least I know a little bit what I’m facing when I’m stepping on the court, seeing the trophy on the back of the court, seeing tons of celebrities,” Ruud said. “Even in Roland Garros, there were royal families there watching. That was a little bit of a new experience for me. I hope I can be more ready for that on Sunday.”
To beat Alcaraz, Ruud said he would need to be precise with his shots and try to keep him farther back from the baseline, “to play with good depth and length on all my shots.”
“If he steps in, he can do anything with the ball,” Ruud said. “He can rip a winner.”
Ruud said Tiafoe has been playing “tactically very smart,” especially in his fourth-round match against Nadal.
“To beat him you need to come up with something special, and he did,” Ruud said on what it took Tiafoe to defeat Nadal. “He took the ball very early and sort of stressed Rafa. I was watching the match a lot. I haven’t watched all his matches, but the Rafa match I watched almost everything of. That was really impressive.”